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"No Remorse, No Repent": Linking Lack of Remorse to Criminal Offending in a Sample of Serious Adolescent Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
27 pages
This article reports on a study that used data from a sample of serious adolescent offenders followed for 7 years to investigate Warr's hypothesis that remorse-resistant adolescents incur a higher number of re-arrests than remorse-prone adolescents.
Linking emotions to offender decision-making has only recently become of theoretical interest to criminologists, but empirical work in this area has not kept pace, nor has such research examined the linking of emotions to offending in offender-based samples. Recently, Warr outlined regret as one such emotion that may be useful in thinking about offending. Specifically, he argued that regret may be related to discontinuity in offending, or conversely that a lack of remorse may be related to continuity in offending. Results provide support for Warr's hypothesis. Remorse-resistant adolescents incurred a higher number of re-arrests, and remorse-prone adolescents incurred fewer re-arrests, even after controlling for other relevant risk factors. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017